The Planning Process

Stage 2: Applying for planning permission

Once you have established whether or not you require planning permission and have used our pre-application advice service (if applicable), the next stage is to submit the relevant application.

Some projects may not require planning permission, but be aware that if you begin a project without legally obtaining planning permission and it turns out you DO need it this could result in enforcement action being taken, and you could end up with a fine and /or a criminal conviction. If you don't need planning permission you may still need building regulation consent.

How to submit an application

You can apply for planning permission yourself or you may chose an agent or other person to submit your application for you.

You can find out more about the type of planning application you may need to submit on our website.

There are three ways to make an application:

Most people submit a planning application online using the Planning Portal. We recommend this as the Planning Portal guides you through your online application, offering help and guidance at each stage. You can also buy site location plans; upload supporting documents and pay fees online.

If you choose to apply by email or post you will need to download and complete the correct application. All application forms and guidance on completing forms are available to download through the Planning Portal and you can find more information on selecting forms on our website.

Please remember that when you apply for planning permission, the Council is under a statutory obligation to make the applicant's name and address available for public scrutiny. This will mean, in most cases, that your name and address will be available via the Council's website and be open to the world to view. This data cannot be restricted and will be kept in perpetuity.

What to submit with your application

All planning applications must be submitted with the correct documents.

These documents include:

Check list for applications

For most planning applications at a minimum the following documents must be submitted:

  • An Application Form
  • Ownership Certificate
    • Completed, dated Ownership Certificate (A, B, C or D - as applicable) and Agricultural Land Declaration (if applicable)- these are found within the application form. Guidance on what certificate to sign can be found on the website.
  • Site Location Plan
    • A location plan (usually an Ordnance Survey Plan) to an identified scale (1:1250 or 1:2500 are preferable). The application site needs to be enclosed in a red line and any other land in the vicinity that is owned by the applicant must be enclosed in a blue line. The plan must also show the direction of north. The Planning Portal offers links to several accredited suppliers where you can buy planning maps.
  • Existing and Proposed Site or 'Block Plan'
    • A site or 'block plan'. This is similar to a site location plan, it should be drawn to an identified scale (1:100, 1:200 or 1:500), the existing and proposed development should be drawn to scale in context to its surroundings.
  • Other Plans and Drawings
    • You will need to submit other plans and drawings or information necessary to describe the subject of the application. For example for householder developments this should include existing and proposed floorplans, elevations and roof plans drawn to an identified scale (1:50 or 1:100) The level of additional plans depends on what your development is, you should consider whether the information provided is adequate to enable the planning officer, members of the public and consultees to understand your proposal fully.
  • Design and Access Statement
    • A design and access statement is required if the application is for a major development, the development is for the provision of one or more houses or the provision of a building with a floor space of 100 square metres or more within a conservation area or World Heritage Site, or where the development relates to a Listed Building.
  • Correct fee

Fees for applications

A fee is required for most planning applications. You can use an online calculator to work out the fee for your application or you can view a list of all fees for planning applications in England here.

There are some types of planning application where no fee or a reduced fee applies, you can find out if you are eligible for an exemption or concession here. Where a previous application has been approved, refused or withdrawn one further revised application can generally be made free of charge within 12 months, you must check whether a revised application meets the conditions/requirements to be eligible for a ‘free go’ here. Harborough District Council will decide whether this concession applies.

Once you know if and what you have to pay, there are four payment methods you can use. They are:

  • Pay online (if applying via the Planning Portal only)
  • Pay online (applications made by email direct to the Planning Department, or made on paper forms only)
  • Pay by phone - 01858 828282 during office hours; please quote your planning application number and the application site address.
  • Pay by cheque* - Development Management, Harborough District Council, The Symington Building, Adam and Eve Street, Market Harborough, Leicestershire, LE16 7AG. Write on the reverse what the payment is for, the Planning Portal reference number and a contact number. Please write your cheque clearly in capital letters, using a black ball-point pen.

When you have submitted your application, we will double-check that you have submitted the right information and paid the right fee. An application cannot proceed until the correct fee and all necessary supporting information has been received. If the required information/fee is not supplied your application will be classed as invalid. We aim to let you know within five working days from receipt whether your application is invalid.

When the correct information has been supplied your application will be made valid from the date all the required information is received.

What do I do if I have been told my application is invalid?

If you have not submitted the correct information or have not paid the right fee we will write to you or your agent, usually by email, to advise you on what you need to submit to make your application valid.

You will be given 21 days to supply the correct information. The information can be submitted by amending your Planning Portal submission, however, it is normally easiest to email this to us at

If your application is declared invalid we will not start the application consideration process so it is important that you provide the information to us quickly.

If you do not submit your information within 21 days the application will normally be returned, so it is important that you contact us to discuss any delays.

If you disagree with a decision not to validate a planning application you should also contact us to discuss this with us. If you are unable to resolve the dispute with us there is a procedure set out in Article 12 of The Town and Country Planning (Development Management Procedure) (England) Order 2015 to resolve such disputes. If necessary, after the statutory time period for determining the application has expired you can appeal against non-determination. In considering such an appeal the inspector will consider both the dispute regarding invalidity and the merits of the application itself. You can find out more information about appealing decisions here.

What happens after your application has been validated?

After an application has been validated it will be registered. This involves entering the documents and plans onto our database, including our website which is usually done within three working days of an application being validated. Information regarding the progress of a planning application such as important dates are then available to view on Planning Online.

We will also write to you or your agent advising them of the application reference, case officer (including their contact details) and determination date.

The case officer will now begin the application consideration process, you can find more information at Stage 3: Application consideration.

How long will it take for a decision to be made?

We will let you know how long your application should take when we register and validate the application.

Small scale minor applications are normally decided within 8 weeks, while larger more complex major applications are normally decided within 13 weeks, although these may take longer depending on the nature of the proposal.

Where we cannot decide your application within the statutory time period we will normally write to you to ask for an extension of time. If we have not agreed to an extension of time you can appeal to the Secretary of State. Appeals can take several months so it may be quicker to reach agreement with us. You can find out more information about the appeals process on the website.